The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions, and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.”
The expansion of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country. That despite its legal status, has sought to bill its countries as a Western state for tourists, fortune-tellers, and businesses. Despite its Islamic legal code, which has previously led to lawsuits against foreigners and outrage in their countries.
The reforms aim to boost the country’s economic and social standing and “consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance,” said state-run WAM news agency, which offered only minimal details in the surprise weekend announcement.
The move follows a historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment. It also comes as skyscraper-studded Dubai gets ready to host the World Expo. The high-stakes event, expected to bring a flurry of commercial activity and some 25 million visitors to the country, was set for October but pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources have affirmed that the changes would take immediate effect, also reflect the efforts of the Emirates’ rulers to keep pace with a rapidly changing society at home.
Emirati filmmaker Abdallah Al Kaabi, whose art has tackled taboo topics like homosexual love and gender identity said
“I could not be happier for these new laws that are progressive and proactive. The year 2020 has been a tough and transformative for the UAE,” he added.
What sort of Major Changes it will bring?
Changes include scrapping penalties for alcohol consumption, sales, and possession for those 21 and over. Although liquor and beer are widely available in bars and clubs in the UAE’s luxuriant coastal cities. However, individuals needed a government-issued license to purchase, transport, or have alcohol in their homes. The new rule would allow Muslims for obtaining licenses to drink alcoholic beverages freely.
Moreover, Another amendment allows for “cohabitation of unmarried couples,” which has long been a crime in the UAE. Authorities, especially in the more freewheeling financial hub of Dubai, often looked the other way when it came to foreigners, but the threat of punishment still lingered. Attempted suicide, forbidden in Islamic law, would also be decriminalized, reports stated.
In a move to better “protect women’s rights,” the government said it would get rid of laws defending “honor crimes”. A widely criticized tribal custom in which a male relative may evade prosecution for assaulting a woman. The one who has seen as dishonoring a family.
The punishment for a crime committed to eradicating a woman’s “shame,” for promiscuity or disobeying religious and cultural strictures. Unfortunately, will now be the same for any other kind of assault.
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